The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility

Background Info

In response to the implementation of the Social Value Act 2012, the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility has been developed. This outlines mandatory principles which Birmingham City Council must adopt in order to enhance its social value generation. Organisations working closely with the council have also been invited to adopt the principles.

What did you do?

The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility is a set of guiding principles which will be adhered to by Birmingham City Council. Contractors providing goods and services will be invited to adopt the Charter, as will public, private and third sector organisations which work closely with the council. Organisations apply to become signatories of this Charter.

The guiding principles in the Charter relate to:

• Local Employment – “Charter signatories will create employment and training opportunities for local people especially in target areas.”

• Buy Birmingham First – “Charter Signatories will take account of the social and economic impacts of buying locally when commissioning and contracting, thereby reducing unemployment and raising the skill level of the local workforce.”

• Partners in Communities – “Charter signatories will play an active role in the local community and community support organisations, especially in those areas and communities with the greatest need.”

• Good Employer – “Charter signatories will support staff development and welfare and adopt the Birmingham Living Wage within their own organisation and within their supply chain.”

• Green and Sustainable – “Charter signatories will commit to protecting the environment, minimising waste and energy consumption and using other resources efficiently. These commitments will also apply to their supply chains.”

• Ethical Procurement – “Charter signatories will commit to employing the highest ethical standards in their own operations and those within their supply chain.”

The organisations may demonstrate in their application their current ability to adhere to the Charter principles (at the time of signature) or they can make a commitment to do so within 3 years. The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility will assist organisations in creating an action plan to allow them to adopt the Charter within this time frame. Unsuccessful applicants to the Charter will be advised on changes they should make to reapply successfully.

The Charter principles will be integrated into the procurement decisions of the council, with all organisations receiving individual contracts or grants of over £200,000 per year required to fully adopt these principles. Organisations receiving aggregate annual contracts or grants of over £500,000 are also obliged to adopt fully the principles of the Charter.

For contracts and grants which fall below these thresholds, recipient organisations are required only to adopt aspects of the Charter, with other aspects being voluntary. Ability of organisations to fulfil these voluntary aspects of the Charter will be taken into account during the procurement process.

Annual reports must be submitted by signatories to the Charter outlining their successes and failures during the year and how they have created additional social value.

What did you learn (things to avoid, things to do etc)

Organisations willing to adopt the Charter but currently unable to do so can be assisted through joint development of an action plan. This allows organisations (particularly third sector organisations which may be lacking in resources) to enhance their understanding of and ability to provide social value.

How did this affect understanding and/or achievement of social value?

These principles set out in the Charter give organisations additional guidance on how they can create social value.

Links – Documents

Contact (email address etc)

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